Hong Kong cataract patient gets eye removed days after surgery

Tseung Kwan O Hospital closes cataract centre for cleansing and air sampling

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 March, 2017, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 March, 2017, 11:56pm

A 92-year-old cataract patient in Hong Kong had his eye eviscerated on Tuesday just days after undergoing surgical procedure on it at Tseung Kwan O Hospital.

The Hospital Authority said his eye specimen had tested positive for streptococcus pneumoniae, a type of bacteria commonly found in the nose and throat of healthy people.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan said the hospital’s cataract centre was closed on Wednesday and is to remain closed until next Monday for thorough cleansing and air sampling.

She said no irregularity had at present been found in the operating theatre.

On March 5, four days after his procedure, the man, also a diabetic patient, was admitted to United Christian Hospital for right eye pain and blurred vision.

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With a clinical diagnosis of postoperative endophthalmitis – inflammation of the internal coats of the eye – antibiotic treatment was given but his condition kept deteriorating.

On March 7, urgent evisceration of the right eye was performed.

Chan said the man remained at United Christian Hospital and was in stable condition.

An authority spokesman noted two other patients also developed inflammations after undergoing cataract surgery earlier this year. Appropriate antibiotic treatment and follow-ups were arranged for them, he added, and they have since fully recovered.

Infection control officer Dr Kitty Fung Sau-chun from the authority’s Kowloon east cluster said no streptococcus pneumoniae was detected in the equipment in the operating room, the environment and the indoor air.

No such bacteria were found on two other patients who also had the inflammation after the surgeries.

She said about 5 to 10 per cent of healthy adults carried the bacteria and there were no suggestions from reputable medical literature to screen for the bacteria before a cataract surgery.

Fung added that 50 patients were affected by the temporary closure.

Arrangements would be made for four of them to undergo the surgeries at United Christian Hospital.